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obtaining money under false pretences. Natural History has a hard struggle to come at correct conclusions in this department of ornithology.*
The Cochin-China Cock has a large, upright, single, deeply-indented comb, very much resembling that of the Black Spanish, and when in high condition of quite as brilliant a scarlet; like him also he has a very large white ear-lobe on each cheek, The wattles are large, wide, and pendant. The legs are of a pale flesh colour, The feathers on the breast and sides are of a bright chesnut brown, large and well-defined, giving a scaly or imbricated appearance to those parts. In some birds there is a horse-shoe marking on the breast caused by a darker shade, and which increases, and perhaps comes, with age. The hackle of the neck is of a light yellowish brown; the lower feathers being tipped with dark brown, so as to give a spotted appearance to the neck, The tail-feathers are black, and darkly iridescent; back, scarlet-orange; back-hackle, yellow-orange. It is, in short, altogether a flame-coloured bird. Both sexes are lower in the leg than either the Black Spanish or the Malay.
The Hen approaches in her build more nearly to the Dorking than any other, except that the tail is very
* Since the above was sent to press, Mr. Nolan has favoured me with a letter, in which he gives the name of a lady who will confirm what has been said respecting the merits of his Cochin-China breed, and of a gentleman who assures him that “he has a Cochin-China Hen, which has laid five eggs in two days.” I cannot, of course, publish the names of those referees, without their permission to do so. Mr. Nolan adds, “ I shall feel most happy to give you any information on the subject of Poultry in my power. I do think that we have larger Malays and Cochin-China here than any I have seen in London." Other trustworthy informants assure me to the contrary. It would answer Mr. Nolan's purpose to produce at some Agricultural Meeting a Cochin-China Cock and Hen, weighing 15lbs. and 10lbs. respectively, to be there inspected by competent judges. And also to collect evidence that will bear examination, of a Hen having laid five eggs within forty-eight hours. For such facts, even if true, are so unusual, that they are sure to be discredited by the majority of those who hear of them. Were they proved, the price of full-grown birds, though high, would be readily paid by many wealthy amateurs.
small, and proportionately depressed : it is more horizontal, I think, than in any other Fowl. Her comb is moderate-sized, almost small; she has also a small white ear-lobe. Her colouring is flat, being composed of various shades of very light brown, with light yellow on the neck. Her appearance is quiet, and only attracts attention by its extreme neatness, cleanness, and compactness. My male bird has two claws on the toe of one foot, a peculiarity which is inherited by some of the chickens.
The eggs average about 2 oz. each. They are smooth, of an oval, nearly equally rounded at each end, and of a rich buff colour, nearly resembling those of the Silver Pheasant. The new-hatched chicks appear very large in proportion to the size of the eggs. They have light flesh-coloured bill, feet, and legs, and are thickly covered with down, of the hue vulgarly called “carrotty.” They are not less thrifty than other chickens, and feather somewhat more uniformly than either Black Spanish or Malay. Nevertheless, it is most desirable to hatch these, as well as other large-growing sorts, as early in the spring as possible ; even soon as the end of February. And it deserves consideration, whether those breeders are not the wisest, who do not allow their Hens to hatch chickens after midsummer. A peculiarity in the Cockerels is, that they do not show even the rudiments of their tail feathers till they are nearly full grown. They increase so rapidly in other directions, that there is no material to spare for the production of these decorative appendages. A gentleman to whom I sent a pair, wrote word that one of the Fowls had had the misfortune to lose his tail on the journey. An hatched at a distance was said to have produced something more like an Eaglet than a Chicken. The Pullets are less backward in shooting their tails, and this distinction alone is sufficient to denote the respective sexes at a very early age. The Cockerel is also later than others in commencing to crow.
The merits of this breed are such, that it may safely
be recommended to persons residing in the country. For the inhabitants of towns it is less desirable, as the light tone of its plumage would show every mark of dirt and defilement, and also because the readiness with which they sit would be an inconvenience, rather than not, in families with whom everlasting layers are most in requisition. At present they are too expensive to have had their edible qualities much tested. Most persons would prefer gratifying a friend with the living, than their own palate with the dead birds.
The Cochin-China Fowl are said to have been presented to her Majesty, Queen Victoria, from the East Indies, and, by her liberality, imparted to such persons in the country as were likely properly to appreciate them. It is delightful to see so good an example in communicating a valuable stock, and also in aiding Natural History by making no secret of the source whence it was derived.
Another Chinese Cock, as the old naturalists would announce it. Dr. Bevan, of Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire, has favoured me with the following :-“I only commenced keeping Fowls last year (1847), when a Hen purchased for the pot, stole a nest in the field. Having heard of a particular breed, brought from China as a present to the late Sir Robert Vaughan, which were said to be capital layers, very much disposed to become fat, with the flesh delicately white, approaching in flavour to that of game, I begged the favour of a few eggs, and was able to rear two Cocks and two Hens. When hatched, and for several weeks afterwards, they looked more like young Ducklings than young Chickens, and their feathers were pushed forth so slowly that, even when a month old, there was very little appearance of wings, and none of tails, and it was another month before they were able to fly half a yard high. The two brothers continued very amicable till they were six or seven months old; at that age the strongest began to tyrannise, so I gave him to a friend. The Hens began to lay when between five and six months old, and they have continued to lay almost daily ever since. The
eggs, at first, were very small, but have been slowly increasing, and at this time they weigh about an ounce and a quarter ; one Hen lays perfectly white eggs, the others are cream-coloured, and both are of a dumpy oval shape. The Hens still retain a somewhat peculiar appearance, having stout legs and thighs, and being almost as broad as long. The tails continue short, not half the usual length; but the Cock, who is a very fine, handsome fellow, has but little peculiarity about him, only being, like the Hens, of smaller size than the Barn-door Fowls. They are remarkably tame, indeed, rather troublesome, depending, in part, perhaps, on the manner in which they have been brought up. They all seek the shelter of a building by night, and one of the Hens never roosts, but sits all night upon her nest. From what I have said, you will infer that as yet I have not tasted the flesh of this variety, nor shall, of course, till next autumn, but as the other character I had of them is correct, I give credit for that also. There is another Chinese variety in the neighbourhood, the bones of which are said to be black.
“I will endeavour to describe my China Cock. He is of more than moderate size. His comb is single, erect, and finely serrated, his shawl feathers of a brilliant gold colour, reaching, when he stands up, nearly the length of his body, and joining at that time, a few rows of feathers of the same colour which extend to the tail, which is jet black, with the feathers finely curled and in moderate quantity; his body is of a brilliant chesnut colour, his thighs and breast black, but spangled with pale chesnut patches. The thighs of both sexes are remarkably fullfeathered, which gives them a great apparent breadth.”
Another. “I lately saw a Chinese Cock with a rose comb, and the plumage of the golden-spangled Hamburgh; his legs were yellow, or he might be taken for one of that breed.”—J.S, W.
THE MALAY FOWL.
This breed is in high repute with many writers, as a supposed connecting link between the wild and the tame races of Fowls. Indeed, something very like them is still to be found in the East; and it would be useful to know, as a certain test, whether the Kulm Cock be indocile, like the Pheasant, or tameable, like the Fowl. The Penny Cyclopædia (article Pheasant) gives the following description of the native Indian bird :
“ The Gigantic Cock, the Kulm Cock of Europeans (a wild breed) often stands considerably more than two feet from the crown of the head to the ground. The comb extends backwards in a line with the eyes ; it is thick, a little elevated, rounded upon the top, and has almost the appearance of having been cut off. The wattles of the under mandibles are comparatively small, and the throat is bare. Pale golden-reddish hackles ornament the head, neck, and upper part of the back, and some of these spring before the bare part of the throat. Middle of the back and lesser wing-coverts deep chesnut, the webs of the feathers disunited ; pale reddish-yellow, long drooping hackles cover the rump and base of the tail, which last is very ample, and entirely of a glossy green, of which colour are the wing-coverts ; the secondaries and quills are pale reddish-yellow on their outer webs. All the under parts deep glossy blackish-green, with high reflections; the deep chesnut of the base of the feathers appears occasionally, and gives a mottled and interrupted appearance to those parts. (Jardine principally.)”
Here is a description of some Malay Fowl supplied by Messrs. Baker :
“Malay Cock.—Height twenty-seven inches and a half. Comb small, double, hanging over on one side in front, and extended in a line backwards. Bill yellowish,